Information from the book Andorra Revealed.

Holy Week traditionally starts on Palm Sunday when people go to Mass to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem when palm fronds are said to have been strewn in his path. Today, up to the age of 12, godmothers present their godsons with palmons and their goddaughters with palmes. The palmons of the boys are large, simple pieces of palm leaf or a sprig of laurel whereas the girls’ palmes require considerable skill to weave into intricate designs. The children take their palms to church to be blessed. On Good Friday a vigil is held in Andorra’s churches. And on Easter Sunday a special Mass is said. There is also an Anglican Easter Sunrise Service held at the Coll de la Botella, incredibly moving on a clear day – not such fun in a blizzard.

As mentioned before, Andorra has a special cake for almost every major feast day and Easter is no exception. The word ‘mona’ comes from the Moroccan term meaning ‘gift’ and, traditionally, at Easter time godfathers give a Mona to their godchildren. This dates back to the 15th century. The Mona normally features eggs, one for each year of the child’s life. They are also a symbol of the end of 40 days of Lenten austerity. Originally the cake was in the shape of a ring with the eggs perched along the rim but today they are more like a Victoria sandwich cake filled with apricot jam and topped off with Disney figures or Barcelona football players and flamboyant, brightly-coloured ‘feathers’. Bakers from Catalonia alone expect to sell 600,000 of these cakes by the end of Holy Week.

Caramelles are popular Easter songs typical of Catalonia. Originally, back in the 16th century, they were sung to celebrate the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nowadays they include many secular songs. Rather like carol singers, Caramellaires (the singers) go round the streets in groups, often accompanied by instrumentalists. They stop under the balconies of friends and neighbours to sing to them. Then they pass up a basket bedecked with ribbons and attached to the end of a long pole so that those on the balcony can make donations of eggs or sausages or money. These donations are used by the group for a communal meal, either that evening or a few days later. In some places the singers also dance between songs.

Culturally yours,



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